Hitachi investment in Internet of Things well-timed for Canada

Marcel Escorcio, the former head of HDS in Canada who now runs the new Hitachi Vantara company, discusses why he believes that Canada will be an exceptionally strong market for Hitachi’s increased emphasis on the Internet of Things.

Marcel Escorcio, GM & regional VP of Hitachi Vantara Canada

Hitachi’s recent NEXT customer event in Las Vegas stressed the company’s doubling down on the Internet of Things [IoT]. This ranged from their creation of a new company, Hitachi Vantara, to the reboots of their Lumada IoT platform and the announcement of their first IoT appliance, based on Lumada. On the surface, Canada does not appear to be a particularly fertile environment for Hitachi here, since many of the Hitachi industrial companies are not active here. However, Marcel Escorcio, the new head of Hitachi Vantara in Canada, thinks the Canadian market is ideally suited to the refinement of Hitachi strategy.

“It’s the next evolution of what Hitachi is offering the marketplace,” said Escorcio, who had been head of Hitachi Data Systems since 2013, and switched companies when HDS was joined with Hitachi Insight Group and Pentaho in the new company. “I’ve been with the company for 28 years, and have seen many changes in the organization. We were originally a plug-compatible manufacturer. Then we focused on storage. Then we focused more broadly on data. Now the focus is the Internet of Things. That pattern follows the vision of inspiring what’s next, and giving back to society, and we will be number one in that Internet of Things world.”

Escorcio said that while the IoT market is starting to take off, and many players have entered the space, the market is not stable and a strong player like Hitachi will be able to take share.

“There are a lot of solutions now in place generating revenue in this business,” he said. “But we think a big shakeup is coming, and with it of these players will go away. We belief we are really making this shift at the right time.”

All three of the Hitachi companies merged into Vantara have been operating in Canada, and had always co-operated to some degree, but Escorcio said they really picked up the pace and have been preparing for the merger for almost a year.

“Canada has been a leader in the transition,” he said. “We were aware what was happening and 12 months ago I was already having these Internet of Things conversations with clients. We have been able to position ourselves and get the right people with the right skillsets in place.”

The official consolidations of the three companies into Vantara does, however, significantly strengthen their hand, Escorcio said.

“It’s like 1+1+1=5,” he stated. “We will be more effective and efficient and focused on a customer more effectively aligned for end-to-end business outcomes. It also makes us bigger and stronger with a sales organization that has more resources, and which makes it easier to deploy the right skillsets from the legacy organizations. The sales teams under the Vantara umbrella will have more specialized skillsets to offer to their clients. In Canada, it means more specialized skills around analytics coming into my organization, which before was focused on data management.”

Analytics is critical in key verticals in Canada, Escorcio stressed.

“I think it gives us a huge boost, especially around telcos, oil and gas, and healthcare,” he said. “It lets us have different discussions on business outcomes with those verticals. Co-creation is another approach Lumada offers these verticals. We can be much more focused.”

Escorcio also noted that Vantara would be significantly stronger in manufacturing in Canada than HDS had been.

“Manufacturing was a vertical that HDS was not so much focused on,” he said. “We now have huge opportunities there. We can go and see what value we can bring from co-creation in the IoT space. Rail is significant here, especially in Ontario.”

Construction is one major Hitachi manufacturing company that is in Canada, and that will offer an IoT opportunity.

“Construction is very much low-hanging fruit,” Escorcio said. “There are also other companies in areas like single sign-on and cybersecurity. Unfortunately, we don’t make Hitachi trains yet in Canada.”

Escorcio said it all adds up into an enormous opportunity that wasn’t there before.

“I’m just so excited about the opportunity to lead this organization,” he said. “We will be able to provide more insight from data management than we could before, to provide better experiences for customers and create new revenue streams for them.”